Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
If you equate sports small talk to sports metaphors you’re missing the point and a valuable opportunity to connect with colleagues. Sports metaphors and cliches are mostly overused, often misused and do very little to further a conversation or make a point.
Intentional sports small talk is a different story. These conversation starters give you the chance to learn more about your colleagues and create follow-up opportunities. (Think: checking in with a baseball-loving colleague Friday to get their thoughts on the Field of Dreams game that happens on Thursday.)
Any of these topics can spark conversations this week.
If there’s one universal takeaway from the Olympics over the last week – it’s that sports isn’t just about the outcomes. Sports can be used to tackle much bigger conversations, like mental health. Simone Biles is a tremendous athlete, the best in the world at what she does. And she is human just like you and just like me.
Sports at its core is about coming together as human beings and being part of a community, whether you are a community of athletes or a community of fans. You can use sports to be rude, divisive, and controversial or you can use sports to bring people together.
I hope you will choose the latter and use these sports conversation starters to build relationships in small talk this week.
Friendly reminder – people want to be heard. They want to know their opinion counts and that what they say matters. It’s one of the biggest reasons anyone posts on social media. You might not agree with what anyone is saying on social media, but you can’t deny the fact that people want to be heard.
Give at least two people that opportunity this week. Start a conversation with the intent of truly hearing what the person has to say.
I probably don’t need to tell you to choose your conversation starter wisely. Small talk should be used to build relationships, not destroy them. The thing someone is ranting about on social media probably isn’t a good place to start. A neutral sports topic is a much better option. Here are a few headlines you can use this week.
You can do anything for 30 seconds.
It’s a favorite saying for fitness instructors and personal trainers everywhere.
That encouragement always seems to come right before telling you to do something you don’t want to do or don’t think you can do. Then, after 30 seconds of more burpees than you really wanted to do, you’re done.
In other words: You can get more done in 30 seconds than you think, and it will be over before you know it.
It’s true in your workouts and when it comes to talking to people in person. If, after more than a year of working from home, you dread the thought of small talk and having conversations in real life then reframe what a conversation actually is.
A conversation doesn’t have to measured in minutes or hours. It can be measured in seconds. Especially in the context of small talk, casually bumping into someone in an elevator, seeing a colleague in person for the first time, the conversation with the waiter at...
The cartoon made me laugh for how accurate it is in my house, but it's also a reminder that it takes a little work to start a conversation with someone.
Don't put the onus on them to make the conversation work. (And if you do, don't be surprised if you get a two-word answer.)
Instead, make a plan, prepare for conversations ahead of time and have a conversation starter ready that will actually lead to an interaction. These sports conversation starters are ideal for small talk this week.
People follow people not plans.
Sports fans connect with personalities not stats. It’s an athlete’s willingness to show who they are that creates that connection. Their game-day actions and results are only part of that equation. Their personality really comes through in interviews and 1-on-1 interactions with fans.
If you only “stick to business” and think small talk is a waste of time, you’re missing opportunities to connect and probably don’t have the relationships or rapport you think you do.
You can use small talk to connect, share personal stories (not your entire life story) and build relationships. Sports is a great topic to utilize in small talk. Here are a few topics that would work this week.
Much like your own personal accomplishments, sports accomplishments can vary. For example, Joey Chestnut broke his own world record Sunday at the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest by eating 76 hot dogs (and buns) in 10 minutes. Just typing that sentence makes me feel queasy, but I would probably jump at the chance to join a pie eating contest.
As silly as it is, that hot dog eating contest makes for great small talk this week along with these more serious sports headlines.
“Our brisket is stupid, but you should totally get the fried catfish because it’s freakin’ bomb.”
I’m not sure those are words I would use to describe menu items, but I love that our server Saturday night used them. It wasn’t just an endorsement of the menu and the chefs, it was a picture into who she was a person. I watched her personality come through in every interaction she had with customers, colleagues, and the chefs. It was fun. And it was a reminder that authenticity comes through in many different ways – including the words we use in conversations.
Choose your words carefully, or strategically when you choose from this list of sports conversation starters to use in small talk this week.
There’s no one way to be a sports fan. You can be a casual fan, novice fan, hard-core fan or social fan.
Don’t count yourself out of conversations because you don’t think you watch enough sports. Don’t refrain from starting a sports conversation because you’re talking to a novice fan.
Be the type of fan you want to be. Use these sports conversation starters to get the ball rolling.
You know how I keep saying that sports is more than stats and scores?
Well, sports can also be about pets. Did you see the Westminster dog show this weekend? That’s a conversation starter worth using this week.
If you prefer more traditional sporting events there are plenty of those to choose from as well. Take a look at this list and use a few in conversations this week.